UFC President Dana White announced on UFC.com that Georges St. Pierre will step in for injured Welterweight Champion Matt Serra, on December 29th at UFC 79 for the Interim Welterweight title against Matt Hughes. Serra made the devastating announcement earlier this week that he herniated a disc in his lower back in training and would not be available to fight, leaving White and the UFC scrambling to find a satisfactory replacement, worthy of Main Event Billing.
You have to hand it to White and Co., because they came through big time. If anything, this is the match that most fans would prefer to see to determine the best 170-ponder in the world. Many believe that Serra’s win over GSP to become champion was a fluke and if they were to fight 99 more times, GSP would win 98 of them.
“Obviously, the loss of Matt Serra was brutal, but the great thing about the UFC is that we can put together great fights like Hughes-St-Pierre at a moment’s notice and bounce right back,” said an ecstatic White. “I have the utmost respect for both Hughes and St-Pierre for stepping up for this fight, and not only are the fans going to see two of the greatest welterweights of all-time settle their score in a rubber match, but they’re going to do it in a five round interim title fight, and the winner is going to face off next year against Matt Serra for the undisputed title.”
Apparently, it was Hughes that requested this be an Interim Title fight. Hughes was quite vague as to why he accepted this fight against GSP, only stating on his website that, “I’ve got a couple reasons why I’ve made this decision and will share those thoughts at a later time.”
GSP will be taking this fight on only4 weeks notice, so one must assume that he is in top physical condition. However, most fighters prefer to have at least the last 8 weeks to prepare for a specific opponent. The former champ is still hungry to show that he is worthy of the second chance that he has been telling everyone he deserves. After losing his title to Serra in his first ever title defense, GSP has been on a mission to regain his belt, and he is accepting that challenge with open arms.
“I’m so excited to get this fight,” said St-Pierre. “I’m fighting Matt Hughes for the interim title right now, and then after that I’m going to go after Serra. I’ve wanted that rematch against Serra, and this is the best scenario that can happen.”
This may be the best thing to happen for GSP, but it is an unfortunate turn of events for Serra. Serra has had a fantastic 2007 where he was coming off the biggest upset of the year in MMA, had his team dominate on The Ultimate Fighter show against his arch “Nemesis” Matt Hughes, and he was months out from finally getting to battle his longtime foe.
“I can’t believe the position this puts me in,” stated a discouraged Serra. “I’m actually rooting for Matt Hughes so I can beat his ass.”
Serra understands that it is the nature of the business, and the show must go on. It will be interesting to see what Hughes has to say about why he decided to take on the only man to ever dominate him in the Octagon. This fight will be headlining UFC 79 December 29 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. They will be joined by the much anticipated showdown of former world champions Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.